AviancaTaca to up capacity on Bogota-Sao Paulo

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Latin American airline group AviancaTaca plans to increase capacity on its Bogota-Sao Paulo route by upgauging aircraft on some flights, following a similar move by competitor LAN Colombia.

AviancaTaca's Bogota-based subsidiary Avianca operates twice daily between the two cities. It currently operates half of those 14 weekly flights with Airbus A319 aircraft and the remaining seven with Airbus A330s.

From 2 May, Avianca will operate ten of the 14 weekly flights with A330s, which will grow seat capacity on the route by 15%, it says. The four remaining flights will still be operated with A319s.

Avianca's A330s are configured with 252 seats, comprising 30 in business class and 222 in economy. The A319s have 120 seats, including 12 in business class and 108 in economy.

By upgauging to A330s on three additional weekly flights, the airline will add 792 extra seats weekly, it says. In total, it will offer 6,000 seats a week between Bogota and Sao Paulo.

Avianca says the number of passengers travelling between the two cities rose 44% in 2012 from a year ago, and thus justified the additional capacity. Besides Sao Paulo, Avianca also operates to Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia from Bogota. In total, it offers 25 weekly flights between Colombia and Brazil.

Avianca's move comes shortly after LAN Colombia's announcement earlier this month that it would upgauge aircraft on some international routes, including Bogota-Sao Paulo. The Bogota-based affiliate of LATAM Airlines group now operates Boeing 767 aircraft instead of A320s.

Avianca and LAN Colombia are the only two airlines offering flights between Bogota and Sao Paulo. LAN Colombia flies daily compared with Avianca's twice daily frequencies.